A sheriff's detective was following a funnel cloud when the winds tossed her car over the fence and dropped it upside down on a field, LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer said.
Detective Shayna Mireles suffered a cut to her head and some bumps and bruises, he said.
The sheriff said he couldn't believe the cruiser was lifted over the fence. He said, "I don't think I would have believed it unless I'd seen it."
The storm cell was among several thunderstorms that moved across the state. The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for much of northern Indiana, but damage was not reported in any other areas.
Three days of rain this week soaked Iowa, causing major flooding of some rivers. As much as six inches of rain fell.
"It's not unusual to have big spring storms, but when you have these amounts. .. it's quite unusual," said Craig Cogil, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Des Moines.
In New Tazewell, Tenn., at least seven people were injured by debris after an apparent tornado touched down. The tornado destroyed at least three mobile homes, two houses and downed trees and power lines.
A tornado touched down about 10 miles west of Crossville, Tenn., damaging trees, buildings and peeling off the roof of an unoccupied trailer, authorities said. No injuries were reported there.
Authorities said they expected there would be more damaged homes and buildings were expected to be found by emergency crews going into Friday morning.
In Plainfield, Ill., a small tornado tore off parts of a nursing home's roof, flipped over a minivan and damaged several homes but no injuries were reported, authorities said.
In rural Brown County in southwest Ohio, Donna Young's front porch was blown about 50 feet from her house, she said.
"It was a nice, railed, country covered porch," she said. The storm "came from the south and just picked the porch to take out."
"We all ran to the back and saw this big white funnel cloud, and it was rolling boards and stuff all around," her daughter Jenna said.
The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for several counties in southern Ohio.
Meanwhile, the Northeast was getting more of what it didn't need Friday morning: rain.
"It looks like most areas of the region will pick up another half- to 1½ inches of rain from this latest storm, adding to some amazing monthly totals," says CBS News meteorologist George Cullen. "Philadelphia has seen 7.6 inches so far; normal is 3. Providence has received 6.7 inches; normal is 3.3, and New York City has gotten a whopping 11 inches with 3.3 inches being the norm."
Several New Jersey communities that experienced flooding earlier in the week had more Friday morning. The ground was too saturated to absorb any more water. Several roads were closed.